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Military transport aircraft or military cargo aircraft are typically fixed wing and rotary wing cargo aircraft which are used to airlift troops, weapons and other military equipment by a variety of methods to any area of military operations around the surface of the planet, usually outside the commercial flight routes in uncontrolled airspace. Originally derived from bombers, military transport aircraft were used for delivering airborne forces during World War II and towing military gliders. Some military transport aircraft are tasked to perform multi-role duties such as aerial refueling and rescue missions, tactical, operational and strategic airlifts onto unprepared runways, or those constructed by engineers.

Contents

Fixed-wingEdit

Fixed-wing transport aircraft are defined in terms of their range capability as strategic airlift or tactical airlift to reflect the needs of the land forces which they most often support. These roughly correspond to the commercial flight length distinctions: Eurocontrol defines short-haul routes as shorter than 1,500 km (810 nmi), long-haul routes as longer than 4,000 km (2,200 nmi) and medium-haul between.[1]

A more specialised role of a cargo aircraft is that of transporting fuel in support of other aircraft with more limited flight endurance such as fighters or helicopters. Smaller cargo aircraft, known as "utility", are often used to transport military communications equipment as temporary or permanent platforms, and in the command role by providing airborne command post or as an air ambulance.

Transports and tankersEdit

Type Country Role Introduction Date Number Built Payload (t) Maximum Take-Off Weight (t) Cruise Speed (km/h) Service Ceiling (m) Range (km)
Aeritalia G.222 Italy Tactical 1978 111 9 28 439 7,620 1,371
Airbus A310 MRTT European Union Strategic / Tank 2003 36 164 850 12,530 6,500
Airbus A330 MRTT European Union Strategic / Tank 2007 45 223 860 13,000 14,800
Airbus A400M European Union Strategic / Tactical 2009 67 37 141 780 12,200 9,300
Alenia C-27J Spartan Italy Tactical 2008 101 11.5 31.8 583 9,144 5,926
Antonov An-8 Camp Ukraine Tactical 1958 151 11 88 480 9,600 2,780
Antonov An-12 Cub Ukraine Tactical 1959 1248 20 61 670 10,200 5,700
Antonov An-14 Clod Ukraine Tactical / Utility 1966 332 7 3.6 180 5,000 650
Antonov An-22 Antei Ukraine Strategic / Tactical 1965 68 80 250 740 10,200 5,000
Antonov An-26 Curl Ukraine Tactical 1969 1403 5.5 24 440 7,500 2,550
Antonov An-28 Cash Ukraine Tactical / Utility 1986 191 2.5 8 270 7,620 1,500
Antonov An-32 Cline Ukraine Tactical 1976 361 6.7 26.9 480 9,500 2,500
Antonov An-72 Coaler Ukraine Tactical 1977 195 7.5 33 600 10,100 4,800
Antonov An-124 Ruslan Ukraine Strategic 1982 55 150 405 800-850 12,000 5,410
Antonov An-70 Ukraine Strategic / Tactical 1994 2 47 145 729 12,000 6,600
Antonov An-178 Ukraine Tactical 2015 1 18 42 800 13,000 5,500
Antonov/Taqnia An-132 Ukraine/Saudi Arabia Tactical 2016 9.2 28.5 550 9,000 4,400
Armstrong Whitworth AW.660 Argosy United Kingdom Strategic / Tactical 1960 72 13 48 407 7,010 5,552
Avro York United Kingdom Strategic / Tactical 1944 259 9.1 29.4 322 7,010 4,800
Avro Vulcan K.2 United Kingdom Tank 1984 136 93 1053.5 14,000-17,000
Beechcraft C-12 Huron United States Tactical / Utility 1974 2 5 375 10,668 3,185
Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey United States Tactical 1989 200+ 6.8 27.4 396 7,620 1,627
Blackburn Beverley United Kingdom Strategic / Tactical 1955 49 20 61 278 4900 2000
Boeing 247/C-73 United States Strategic / Tactical 1942 6.2 304 7,620 1,200
Boeing C-108 Flying Fortress United States Strategic / Tactical 1943 (prototype only) 5 30 293 10,850 3,219
Boeing KB-29 Superfortress United States Tank 1948 5.4 62 507 12,000 3,710
Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter United States Strategic / Tank 1951 888 9.1 79 482 10,670 6,920
Boeing KB-50 Superfortress United States Tank 1956 5.4 62 507 12,000 3,710
Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker United States Strategic / Tank 1956 803 37.6 146 853 15,200 17,766
Boeing YC-14 United States Tactical 1976 (prototype only) 31.4 133 723 13,716 5,136
Boeing VC-25 United States VIP transport 1990 375 925 13,700 13,000
Boeing C-17 Globemaster III United States Strategic / Tactical 1991 279 77.5 265 830 13,716 10,390
Boeing C-32 United States VIP transport 1998 116 851 13,000 7,250
Boeing C-40 Clipper United States Strategic 2001 18 78 838 12,500 5,600
Boeing KC-767 United States Strategic / Tank 2005 29.5 182 851 12,200 11,830
Boeing KC-46 Pegasus United States Strategic / Tank 2013 29.5 182 851 12,200 11,830
British Aerospace 125 United Kingdom VIP transport 1965 11 747 12,500 2,891
British Aerospace 146 United Kingdom VIP transport 1986 97.5 747 11,000 3,870
Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander United Kingdom Tactical / Utility 1965 2 3 257 4,024 1,400
Canadair North Star Canada Strategic / Tactical 1946 5 33 523 10,970 6,212
Canadair CL-44/CC-106 Yukon Canada Strategic / Tactical 1960 95 670 9,100 8,990
Canadair CC-109 Cosmopolitan Canada Tactical 1960 6.4 24 518 7,620 3,660
CASA C-212 Aviocar Spain Tactical / Utility 1971 2.8 8 315 7,925 1,433
CASA CN-235 Spain Tactical 1983 5 15.1 509 7,620 5,003
Cessna Citation V/UC-35 United States VIP transport 1987 7.3 796 13,715 3,650
Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express United States Strategic / Tactical 1942 4.5 25 346 8,500 5,311
Consolidated R2Y United States Strategic / Tactical 1944 (prototype only) 5.5 29 380 8,500 6,400
Convair XC-99 United States Strategic 1949 (prototype only) 45 145.5 370 9,150 13,041
Convair C-131 Samaritan United States Tactical 1950 21 409 7,470 750
Curtiss C-46 Commando United States Strategic / Tactical 1941 6.8 20 278 7,468 5,069
de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou Canada Tactical 1958 3.6 14.2 348 7,559 2,103
de Havilland Canada DHC-5 Buffalo Canada Tactical 1965 8.2 22.3 9,450 1,112
de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter Canada Tactical / Utility 1966 5.5 278 7,620 1,434
Douglas DC-2/C-32 United States Strategic / Tactical 1937 8 278 6,930 1,750
Douglas C-47 Skytrain United States Strategic / Tactical 1941 3 10.5 360 8,045 2,600
Douglas C-54 Skymaster United States Strategic / Tactical 1942 33 310 6,800 6,400
Douglas C-74 Globemaster United States Strategic 1945 22 78 6,490 5,470
Douglas C-47 Skytrain/C-117 Skytrain United States Strategic / Tactical 1951 3 10.5 360 8,045 2,600
Douglas C-118 Liftmaster United States Strategic / Tactical 1947 12.7 48.5 507 5,460 6,700
Douglas C-124 Globemaster II United States Strategic 1950 448 88.2 370 6,645 10,975
Douglas C-133 Cargomaster United States Strategic 1956 50 53.5 130 519 9,800 6,590
EADS CASA C-295 Spain Tactical 1998 9.3 23.2 481 9,100 5,400
Embraer KC-390 Brazil Tactical 2014 23 72 900 10,973 6,200
Fairchild C-82 Packet United States Tactical 1944 12.5 24.5 351 6,460 6,239
Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar United States Tactical 1949 12.5 33.5 322 7,300 2,849
Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor Germany Strategic / Tactical 1937 23 335 6,000 3,560
Fokker F27 Friendship Netherlands Tactical 1958 20 460 7,620 2,055
Fokker 50 Netherlands Tactical 1985 23 530 7,620 1,666
Grumman C-1 Trader United States Carrier Onboard Delivery 1952 1.6 13.2 462 6,700 2,092
Grumman C-2 Greyhound United States Carrier Onboard Delivery 1964 4.5 24.7 465 10,210 2,400
Gulfstream III/C-20 United States VIP transport 1980 31.5 818 13,716 6,760
Handley Page Hastings United Kingdom Strategic / Tactical 1948 9 36.2 468 8,100 2,720
Handley Page Victor K.2 United Kingdom Tank 1965 93 17,000 9,660
Harbin Y-12 China Tactical / Utility 1983 5.5 250 7,000 1,340
Ilyushin Il-12 Coach Russia Tactical 1946 17 6,500 1,500
Ilyushin Il-14 Crate Russia Tactical 1954 18 7,400 1,300
Ilyushin Il-76 Candid Russia Strategic / Tactical 1971 960 47 170 900 13,000 4,400
Ilyushin Il-78 Midas Russia Tank 1971 53 47 170 900 13,000 4,400
Ilyushin Il-76-MD-90A Russia Strategic / Tactical 2013 60 210 850 13,000 4,000
Ilyushin Il-78M-90A Russia Tank 2017 47 170 900 13,000 4,400
Ilyushin Il-112 Russia Tactical 2011 5.9 20 550 7,600 5,000
Ilyushin Il-276 Russia Tactical 2025 (planned) 20 15.8 800 13,000 2,000
Junkers Ju 52 Germany Strategic / Tactical 1930 2 11 211 5,490 800
Junkers Ju 89 Germany Strategic / Tactical 1938 (prototype only) 1.5 29 7,000 2,980
Junkers Ju 90 Germany Strategic / Tactical 1937 33 320 5,750 1,247
Junkers Ju 290 Germany Strategic / Tactical 1942 3 50 6,000 6,150
Junkers Ju 390 Germany Strategic 1943 (prototype only) 75.5 6,000 9,700
Kawasaki Ki-56 Japan Strategic / Tactical 1940 8 8,000 3,300
Kawasaki C-1 Japan Tactical 1970 11.9 45 657 11,580 1,300
Kawasaki C-2 Japan Tactical 2010 37.6 120 890 12,200 6,500
Learjet C-21 United States VIP transport 1973 8 774 13,700 5,295
Lisunov Li-2 Soviet Union Strategic / Tactical 1939 3 10.5 360 8,045 2,600
Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar United States Strategic / Tactical 1940 10 322 7,740 4,025
Lockheed C-69 Constellation United States Strategic / Tactical 1943 33 504 7,629 3,900
Lockheed C-121 Constellation United States Strategic / Tactical 1948 48.5 512 7,450 4,445
Lockheed R6V Constitution United States Strategic 1946 (prototype only) 83.4 418 8,700 8,670
Lockheed C-130 Hercules United States Tactical / Tank 1954 2500+ 20.4 70.3 540 10,060 3,800
Lockheed JetStar/C-140 United States VIP transport 1961 20 811 13,105 4,820
Lockheed C-141 Starlifter United States Strategic / Tactical 1963 285 28.4 147 912 12,500 9,880
Lockheed C-5 Galaxy United States Strategic 1968 131 122 381 907 10,600 4,445
Lockheed TriStar (RAF) United States Strategic / Tank 1984 136 894 13,000 7,785
Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules United States Tactical / Tank 1996 40 19-20 70.3-74.3 643 8,615 3,334
McDonnell Douglas C-9 United States Strategic 1968 50 811 11,000 4,700
McDonnell Douglas YC-15 United States Tactical 1975 (prototype only) 35 98 872 9,144 4,810
McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender United States Strategic / Tank 1980 77 268 908 12,800 18,507
Messerschmitt Me 323 Germany Strategic / Tactical 1943 10 43 218 4,000 800
Mitsubishi Ki-57 Japan Strategic / Tactical 1942 9 8,000 3,000
Nakajima Ki-34 Japan Strategic / Tactical 1937 5 310 7,000 1,200
PZL M-28 Skytruck Poland Tactical / Utility 1993 2.5 8 270 7,620 1,500
Nord Noratlas France Tactical 1953 12.5 21 320 7,100 2,500
Savoia-Marchetti SM.81 Italy Strategic / Tactical 1935 2 10.5 550 7,000 1,500
Shaanxi Y-8 China Tactical 1974 20 61 550 10,200 5,616
Shaanxi Y-9 China Tactical 2008 25 77 650 10,200 7,800
Short Belfast United Kingdom Strategic 1964 55 104 541 9,144 8,528
Short Skyvan United Kingdom Tactical / Utility 1963 5 5.6 317 6,858 1117
Short C-23 Sherpa United Kingdom Tactical / Utility 1982 3.2 3.2 296 5,114 1,239
Showa/Nakajima L2D Japan Strategic / Tactical 1939 3 10.5 360 8,045 2,600
Transall C-160 France/Germany Tactical 1963 214 16 49.2 513 10,060 8,230
Vickers Valetta United Kingdom Strategic / Tactical 1948 3 16.5 277 6,550 2,350
Vickers Valiant B(K).1/B(PR)K.1 United Kingdom Tank 1958 64 16,500 7,245
Vickers VC10 United Kingdom Strategic / Tank 1965 151 13,105 9,412
Xian HY-6 China Tank 1995 180 9 79 768 12,800 6,000
Xian Y-20 China Strategic / Tactical 2013 10 66 220 900 13,000 7,800

Rotary wingEdit

Military transport helicopters are used in places where the use of conventional aircraft is impossible. For example, the military transport helicopter is the primary transport asset of US Marines deploying from LHDs and LHA. The landing possibilities of helicopters are almost unlimited, and where landing is impossible, for example densely packed jungle, the ability of the helicopter to hover allows troops to deploy by abseiling and roping.

Transport helicopters are operated in assault, medium and heavy classes. Air assault helicopters are usually the smallest of the transport types, and designed to move an infantry squad or section and their equipment. Helicopters in the assault role are generally armed for self-protection both in transit and for suppression of the landing zone. This armament may be in the form of door gunners, or the modification of the helicopter with stub wings and pylons to carry missiles and rocket pods. For example, the Sikorsky S-70, fitted with the ESSM (External Stores Support System), and the Hip E variant of the Mil Mi-8 can carry as much disposable armament as some dedicated attack helicopters. The assault helicopter can be thought of as the modern successor to the military glider. Finally, there is the generic term utility helicopter, which generally refers to medium-lift designs.

Not all militaries are able to operate a full range of transport helicopters, so the medium transport type is probably the most useful compromise and probably the most common specialist transport type. Medium transport helicopters are generally capable of moving up to a platoon of infantry and are capable of being able to transport towed artillery or light vehicles either internally or as underslung roles. Unlike the assault helicopter they are usually not expected to land directly in a contested landing zone, but are used to reinforce and resupply landing zones taken by the initial assault wave. Examples include the unarmed versions of the Mil Mi-8, Super Puma, and CH-46 Sea Knight.

Heavy lift helicopters are the largest and most capable of the transport types, currently limited in service to the CH-53 Sea Stallion and related CH-53E Super Stallion, CH-47 Chinook, Mil Mi-26, and Aérospatiale Super Frelon. Capable of lifting up to 80 troops and moving small Armoured fighting vehicles (usually as slung loads but also internally), these helicopters operate in the tactical transport role in much the same way as small fixed wing turboprop air-lifters. The lower speed, range and increased fuel consumption of helicopters are more than compensated by their ability to operate virtually anywhere.

Transport and utility helicoptersEdit

Type Country Introduction Date Payload (t) Maximum Take-Off Weight (t) Cruise Speed (km/h) Service Ceiling (m) Range (km)
Aérospatiale SA 321 Super Frelon France 1966 5 13 266 3,150 1,020
Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma France 1968 7 248 4,800 580
AgustaWestland AW109 Italy 1976 3 285 920
AgustaWestland AW101/EH-101 Italy 1999 8.5 15 278 4,575 833
AgustaWestland AW139 Italy 2003 7 306 6,096 1,250
AgustaWestland AW149 Italy 2003 9 278 6,096 800
AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat Italy 2014 1.5 6 777
AgustaWestland CH-149 Cormorant Italy 2000 8.5 15 278 4,575 833
Atlas Oryx South Africa 1987 8 248 7,162 303
Bell UH-1 Iroquois United States 1959 1.7 4.3 201 5,910 507
Bell UH-1N Twin Huey United States 1970 4.7 207 5,273 460
Bell UH-1Y Venom United States 2008 3 8.3 250 6,100
Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight United States 1964 2.2 11 5,180 1,020
Boeing Vertol CH-47 Chinook United States 1962 11 23 296 6,100 370
Changhe Z-8 China 1994 5 13 266 3,150 1,020
Changhe Z-18 China 2014 5 13 266 6,000 1,020
Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin France 1978 1.5 4.3 260 4,500 572
Eurocopter AS532 Cougar France 1978 1.5 9 239 3,450 572
Eurocopter AS565 Panther France 1986 2 4.3 260 5,865 572
Eurocopter EC225 Super Puma/Airbus Helicopters H225 France 2004 5.5 11 261 5,900 857
Eurocopter EC725/Airbus Helicopters H225M France 2005 5.5 11 261 5,900 857
Harbin Z-9 China 1994 1.5 4.3 260 4,500 572
IAR 330 Romania 1975 7.5 271 6,000 572
Mil Mi-8 Russia 1967 4 13 230 4,500 610
Mil Mi-17 Russia 1977 4 13 230 6,100 610
Mil Mi-26 Russia 1977 20 56 255 4,600 800
NHIndustries NH90 European Union 2007 2.5 11 6,000 800
Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion United States 1966 3.6 19.1 278 5,106 1,000
Sikorsky CH-54 Tarhe United States 1962 9.1 21 185 5,600 370
Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk United States 1979 4 10 280 5,790 590
Westland Lynx Italy 1978 1.5 5.5 528

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Study into the impact of the global economic crisis on airframe utilisation" (PDF). Eurocontrol. January 2011. p. 21.

Further readingEdit